Not only has there been an illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Not only is there a terrible war going on with the same devastating results we’ve seen in other wars.
But the war and the way it is presented has set off a number of destructive trends in our country, from an escalating war budget, to “invisibilization”of our huge war in Yemen, to a complete loss of interest by our government in stopping global warming or ending poverty.
In the midst of all this destruction and crisis, I still hope there is one thing we can all agree on: that we must prevent this terrible war from turning into a nuclear war.
Because you may or may not have noticed it but we are seeing before our very eyes a transformation of the conflict from a battle over control of Ukraine to one that pits the U.S. more directly against Russia.
Today the explicit goal of our policy is to win a victory over Russia and weaken that country so it will never recover. And just about everyone in congress and in the media say they are on board with that.
But this is how nuclear war could start.
Because as the stated goals of our policy have dramatically changed, our involvement in the war has been increasing, moving closer and closer to direct military engagement with Russia.
We are shipping Ukraine heavy weaponry that would have been unthinkable at the beginning of the war. We have U.S. intelligence and military officials on the ground. We have established a vast intelligence operation in support of the Ukrainian military. We helped Ukraine sink an iconic Russian Battleship and we provide invaluable assistance for the specific purpose of killing Russian Generals. Imagine how we would perceive such military involvement by an adversary who says it is out to break us?
A massive $40 billion aid package brings the total amount of U.S. support for Ukraine, so far, up to $46 billion — after just for 3 months. That’s 2/3 of what Russia spends on its military in a whole year. And this will be just a down payment as we empty the cupboard of the money that was supposed to stop global warming from destroying us. That money will fund present U.S. involvement in Ukraine as well as potential future escalation of that involvement.
So here’s the question: Is the pleasure of getting even with Russia, or hanging Putin like we did to Saddam, or castrating him like we did to Khadafy or blowing him away like we did to Osama — is that pleasure worth the very real chance that American kids – Ukrainian kids – Russian kids – Your kids – will be incinerated or run to the Charles River while their skin melts off their bodies – or just die a painful slow death from radiation poisoning or from starvation caused by nuclear winter?
Is that thrill of destroying the great evil one really worth it?
When Russia hears the message that “we are going to break you”, how will they react. If after several months or a year the Russian regime has its back up against the wall, will Mr. Putin, out of the goodness of his heart, decide against using a nuclear missile or two — or 200 — to try to save the Russian army?
Never before has a nuclear power been confronted with a decision to use its nuclear arsenal to prevent its dissolution. Do we really want to see how that works out?
Of course, if Russia somehow succeeds in its war aims through military means, there will be no need to use its nuclear stockpile. But what would that mean for Ukraine and everyone else?
The only way to prevent these doomsday scenarios is through negotiations, not escalating arms shipments and growing U.S. involvement in the war. A fair peace settlement that guarantees Ukraine’s independence and security may still be within reach. We have to convince our government to end its hostility to such negotiations and get involved. Every day spent avoiding a negotiated settlement is a day when we inch closer to the unthinkable.
Whatever differences we have with each other, surely we can come together around the only solution that does not lead to catastrophe. We can have our arguments with each other later, but not while these dangers stare us in the face. I know I want to be around to have those arguments. And i want to be around to enjoy the upcoming warm summer weather. And i want to be around to see these damn wars end. And i want to be around to see little kids running around laughing. And I want to be around to enjoy friends and to see better days for our country. And I think you do too.